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        How to Write a Lab Report: Examples from Academic Editors

        • calenderOct 08, 2022
        • calender 7 min read

        A lab report documents the theory, methods, and results of your experiment to demonstrate your understanding of research and scientific methodology. In this article, we’ll tell you how to write a lab report with the help of some useful examples.

        For many students, writing a lab report can be confusing: how to format it, what to include and not include, and so on. The questions are endless! Just remember that your lab report will allow others to reproduce your results and draw their own conclusions. This will help you write a lab report that’s well-formatted and organized.

        In true Resource Center fashion, let’s start with the basics: what exactly is a lab report?

        What is a lab report? 

        A laboratory report is a document written to describe and analyze an experiment that addresses a scientific inquiry. A lab report helps you conduct an experiment and then systematically design a conclusion based on your hypothesis. 

        Note: A lab report is not the same as a lab notebook. A notebook is a detailed log you keep throughout the study. A lab report is a concise summary that you submit after the study is done, usually for a final grade. 

        A lab report typically follows this format: 

        • Title 
        • Abstract
        • Introduction 
        • Equipment/Materials 
        • Methods 
        • Results
        • Discussion 
        • Conclusion
        • References 

        This is a broad list of sections you might have to include in your lab report, but by no means is this compulsory or exhaustive. You should always refer to the course or university guidelines to understand the desired format. 

        How to Write a Lab Report

        A lab report should be clear, concise, and well-organized, and it should include all the necessary information for others to replicate your experiment. Since the lab report format is designed to serve this purpose, you must follow it to the bone while writing your report.

        Let’s start with learning how to title a lab report.


        The title of your lab report should:

          1. Be clear, direct, and informative.
          2. Include keywords that clarify your objectives and involved variables.
          3. Be under ten words (ideally).

        It’s a good idea to avoid phrasing the title as a question. Remember, your title doesn’t have to be witty or clever, just descriptive and to the point. Here are a few title examples that can clarify this for you:

        • Unraveling the genetic code through gel electrophoresis.
        • Hot and cold: How temperature affects enzymes yeast cells
        • Impervious alloys of Aluminium
        • How fast does Hydrogen Peroxide decompose?
        • The speed of growth: An Analysis of bacterial growth rates in different culture media

        Analysis of DNA fragment lengths using gel electrophoresis

        The effects of temperature on enzyme activity in yeast cells

        Investigating the corrosion resistance of Aluminum alloys

        Study of chemical kinetics through the decomposition of Hydrogen Peroxide

        Quantifying bacterial growth rates in different culture media

        Title page

        While it’s not necessary to dedicate an entire page to the title, some universities might ask for a title page. If you’ve been asked to make this, include the following details:

        • The experiment title 
        • Your name and student details 
        • Course and program details 
        • Date and year of submission 


        An abstract is a brief but comprehensive overview of the purpose, findings, and larger relevance of your experiment. It communicates the essential details of your study for your readers, whether it’s evaluators or peers.

        Follow these tips to write a lab report abstract:

        • Clearly state the topic of your experiment.
        • Briefly describe the conditions of your study, the variables involved, and the method(s) used to collect data.
        • Lay out the major findings of your study and your interpretations of them.
        • Mention the relevance and importance of your study in brief.

        An abstract is usually only a page long (typically between 100 and 250 words), so your writing must be concise and crisp.

        Bonus tip: Although the abstract is the first section of your report, it’s best to write it towards the end. Much easier to summarize the report after it’s been written!

        Lab report abstract example

        This experiment aimed to investigate the corrosion resistance of two different aluminum alloys: 6061-T6 and 7075-T6. The experiment involved exposing samples of each alloy to a 3% NaCl solution for a period of 72 hours and then measuring the weight loss of the samples. The results showed that 6061-T6 had a weight loss of 0.10 g, while 7075-T6 had a weight loss of 0.25 g, indicating that 6061-T6 was more corrosion resistant. These findings suggest that the composition of the alloy has a significant impact on its resistance to corrosion. This information is important for industries that use aluminum alloys in environments that are prone to corrosion, such as marine applications or chemical processing. Further research could explore the specific mechanisms that contribute to the corrosion resistance of different aluminum alloys, and could investigate the effects of other environmental factors on corrosion.


        The lab report introduction provides your readers with background information on your experiment and its significance. It should be brief and to the point, so a few paragraphs is the maximum length recommended.

        You can adopt either of two modes to write your introduction:

        1. Beginning with the research question and then adding context, ultimately closing with your purpose.
        2. Beginning with the broad topic and narrowing it down to your research question.

        Follow these steps to write your lab report introduction:

        • Begin with a brief overview of the broad research area and existing literature. 
        • Include only essential background information and cite only highly relevant sources. 
        • Clearly define any key terms or concepts that you’ll use in the report.
        • State the specific purpose and objectives of your experiment.
        • Mention the relevance and significance of your study.
        • State a clear hypothesis and expected outcomes.
        • Check with your instructor about adding the variables, results, and conclusions to the introduction.
        • Refer the university guidelines for instructions on labeling paragraphs in your introduction.
        • Use the past tense when describing the purpose and other specifics of the experiment since it has already been carried out and is in the past. (“This experiment aimed to investigate the corrosion resistance of two different aluminum alloys.”)
        • Use the present tense when describing the report, existing theories, and established facts. (“This information is important for industries that use aluminum alloys in environments prone to corrosion.”)

        Make sure you use your own words rather than following a templatized format.

        Lab report introduction example

        Aluminum alloys are widely used in a variety of industrial applications due to their excellent strength-to-weight ratio, good corrosion resistance, and other desirable properties. However, the corrosion resistance of aluminum alloys can vary depending on their composition, and understanding the factors that contribute to corrosion resistance is crucial for their effective use in harsh environments. In this experiment, we aim to investigate the corrosion resistance of two different aluminum alloys: 6061-T6 and 7075-T6. These alloys were selected because they are commonly used in industrial applications and have different compositions, with 6061-T6 containing magnesium and silicon, while 7075-T6 contains zinc and copper. By exposing samples of each alloy to a 3% NaCl solution and measuring the weight loss of the samples over time, we can determine which alloy is more corrosion-resistant and gain insight into the factors that contribute to their corrosion resistance. This information is important for industries that use aluminum alloys in harsh environments, such as marine and aerospace applications, and can contribute to the development of more effective corrosion-resistant materials.


        The lab report methods section documents the methods, subjects, materials, and equipment you used to collect data. This is a record of the steps you followed, and not steps as they were prescribed.

        Follow these tips to write a lab report method section:

        • List all materials and equipment used in the experiment, including their material specifications such as weight or amount. (Ex: 5 ml of 3% NaCl solution)
        • In the case of elaborate lists and set of steps, you may include them in the appendix section and refer to them in the methods section. (Check this with your instructor!)
        • Detail the procedures you used to carry out the experiment step-by-step, including apparatus setup, mixing of reagents, and other technical processes.
        • Explain how you collected and recorded the data as well as the involved analytical methods and calculations.
        • Use the past tense to write this section.
        • Discuss the limitations and margins of error and how you tried to minimized them.
        • Where relevant, mention the safety precautions and protective equipment used during the experiment.

        Your methods section should be accurate enough for other researchers to follow the instructions and obtain results similar to yours.

        Lab report method example


        • Two aluminum alloy samples: 6061-T6 and 7075-T6
        • 3% NaCl solution
        • Two beakers
        • Two stirring rods
        • Digital scale
        • Vernier caliper


        • Cut four aluminum alloy samples, two from each type of alloy, each with dimensions of 1 cm x 1 cm x 0.2 cm.
        • Clean the samples thoroughly using ethanol to remove any impurities or oils.
        • Weigh each sample accurately using a digital scale and record the initial weight.
        • Prepare a 3% NaCl solution by dissolving 30 g of NaCl in 1000 mL of deionized water.
        • Pour 250 mL of the 3% NaCl solution into each beaker.
        • Submerge two samples of each aluminum alloy in separate beakers containing the NaCl solution.
        • Use the stirring rods to stir the solutions gently to ensure uniformity.
        • Allow the samples to remain in the solutions for 72 hours at room temperature (25°C).
        • After 72 hours, carefully remove each sample from the solution and rinse with deionized water to remove any remaining salt.
        • Dry each sample using a lint-free cloth and measure its weight using the digital scale.
        • Record the final weight of each sample.
        • Calculate the weight loss of each sample by subtracting the final weight from the initial weight.
        • Use a Vernier caliper to measure the thickness of each sample, record these measurements.
        • Calculate the corrosion rate for each sample by dividing the weight loss by the surface area of the sample and the time of immersion in the solution.

        Data Collection:

        Weight loss and thickness measurements were recorded for each sample after the 72-hour immersion period. Corrosion rates were calculated using the weight loss, surface area, and time of immersion.


        The experiment was conducted in a well-ventilated area with appropriate personal protective equipment, including gloves and goggles. Care was taken when handling the NaCl solution to avoid contact with the skin or eyes.


        The experiment was conducted under controlled conditions, which may not reflect real-world scenarios. The NaCl solution concentration used may not be representative of all environmental conditions that aluminum alloys may encounter in industrial applications. Further research could explore a wider range of environmental factors to more accurately predict the corrosion resistance of aluminum alloys.


        The results section presents the findings of the experiment including the data you have collected and analyzed. In some cases, this section may be combined with the discussion section.

        Put your findings into words and present relevant figures, tables, and graphs. You may also include the calculations you used to analyze the data.

        Here are some guidelines on how to write a results section:

        • Begin with a concise summary of your key findings in the form of a brief paragraph or bullet points.
        • Present the data collected in the form of tables, graphs, or charts.
        • Describe important data to highlight any patterns you have observed.
        • Use descriptive statistics such as mean, median, and standard deviation, to summarize your data.

        Add your raw data in the Appendices section and refer to it whenever required. Remember to use symbols and units of measurement correctly.

        Lab report results example

        The aluminum alloys tested have varying degrees of resistance to corrosion. Table 1 shows the corrosion rates for each sample, calculated as the percentage weight loss over the duration of the experiment.

        Table 1: Corrosion rates for aluminum alloy samples

        Sample Corrosion rate (%)

        Alloy sample Corrosion rate
        A 0.12
        B 0.08
        C 0.02
        D 0.05

        As can be seen from Table 1, sample C had the lowest corrosion rate, indicating the highest resistance to corrosion among the four samples tested. Sample A had the highest corrosion rate, indicating the lowest resistance to corrosion.

        Figure 1 shows the corrosion morphology of the aluminum alloy samples after exposure to the saltwater solution for 7 days. The images were taken using scanning electron microscopy (SEM).

        [Figure 1]

        The SEM images show that sample C had the least amount of corrosion, with only small pits visible on the surface. Samples A and B showed more severe corrosion, with visible pitting and cracking. Sample D showed moderate corrosion, with some surface roughening and small pits.

        In conclusion, the results of this experiment indicate that the corrosion resistance of aluminum alloys varies depending on the composition of the alloy. Sample C, which had the lowest corrosion rate and the least amount of corrosion morphology, showed the highest resistance to corrosion among the four samples tested. Further research could investigate the effect of different environmental conditions on the corrosion resistance of aluminum alloys.


        The discussion section of a lab report is where you interpret and analyze the results of your experiment in the context of the research question or hypothesis. This is the most important part of the lab report because this is your contribution to your field of study.

        Follow these guidelines to write your discussion section:

        • Begin with a brief summary of the main findings of the experiment.
        • Interpret the results and explain how they relate to your research question or hypothesis.
        • Compare the results to previous research in the field and analyze how they support or oppose existing theories or models.
        • Discuss any limitations or sources of error in the experiment and how it can be improved upon.
        • If applicable, include any additional analysis such as post-hoc tests or follow-up experiments.

        Your discussion section shouldn’t simply repeat the results, but offer a critical interpretation and analysis of them. Furthermore, it should also reflect upon the methods and procedures undertaken and take stock of whether you applied processes most favorable for your subject.

        Lab report discussion example

        The investigation into the corrosion resistance of aluminum alloys has provided valuable insight into the behavior of these materials under various conditions. The results of the experiment indicated that the aluminum alloys tested had varying degrees of corrosion resistance depending on the specific alloy composition and environmental conditions.

        Comparing the results to previous research in the field, the findings are consistent with the general understanding that aluminum alloys are susceptible to corrosion under certain circumstances. However, the exact mechanisms of corrosion and the specific factors that influence corrosion resistance are still subject to ongoing research.

        One limitation of the experiment is the relatively short duration of exposure to the corrosive environment. Longer exposure times may have provided additional insights into the behavior of the aluminum alloys over time. Additionally, the use of only one type of corrosive environment may not accurately reflect the behavior of the materials in other environments.

        The unexpected finding of pitting corrosion in Alloy B warrants further investigation to determine the underlying causes and potential solutions. Future research could also explore the effects of additional factors, such as temperature and humidity, on the corrosion resistance of aluminum alloys.

        Overall, the results of this experiment demonstrate the importance of considering the specific composition and environmental conditions when evaluating the corrosion resistance of aluminum alloys. The findings have implications for the development of more durable and corrosion-resistant materials for various applications in industry and engineering.


        The conclusion summarizes the experiment and its significance in your field of study. It’s usually one brief paragraph, and in some cases might be omitted altogether. Check with your instructor about whether or not you need to write a lab report conclusion.

        Here’s how to write a lab report conclusion:

        • State whether the experiment supported or opposed your hypothesis.
        • Reflect upon the significance and implications of your study.
        • Suggest avenues for future research.

        Lab report conclusion example

        The investigation into the corrosion resistance of aluminum alloys demonstrated that the aluminum alloys tested had varying degrees of corrosion resistance, depending on their specific composition and the nature of the corrosive environment. The results of the experiment are consistent with previous research in the field, and the findings support the notion that aluminum alloys are susceptible to corrosion under certain conditions.

        The experiment also revealed some unexpected findings, such as the pitting corrosion observed in Alloy B. This finding warrants further investigation to determine the underlying causes and potential solutions.

        The experiment was limited by the relatively short exposure time to the corrosive environment and the use of only one type of corrosive environment. Future research could explore the effects of longer exposure times and different corrosive environments on the corrosion resistance of aluminum alloys.

        Overall, the results of this experiment provide important insights into the behavior of aluminum alloys and have implications for the development of more durable and corrosion-resistant materials for various applications in industry and engineering.


        List all the sources you consulted while writing the lab report. Include the full bibliographic information in the appropriate format.

        For lab reports in sciences and social sciences, the APA citation style is usually followed. Students of business, fine arts, and history will use Chicago stye citations in their lab reports. In the rare event of lab report under humanities, you’ll be expected to write your citations in the MLA format.

        Remember that failing to cite your sources is considered plagiarism and has serious consequences. Always give credit where credit is due!

        Lab Report Example & Templates

        a. Basic Lab report template

        Lab report template

        b. Chemistry lab report example

        c. Example of good labeling

        Chemistry lab report

        Frequently Asked Questions

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        Prasanna Linkedin

        Prasanna is on a little break from academia and spends his time compiling fiction writing tips. He enjoys poetry, mythology, and drawing lotuses on any surface he can find.

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